The Beginning and the End
Trigger warning: rape, violence, abuse, domestic violence
I thought I’d write a post about abuse to enlighten you a little. I think this is an important part of my story as it’s helped define the woman that I am today and is something that I will always struggle with. I’m not going to get into too much detail but I will share some things that may make you uncomfortable, so continue reading if you wish.
Alright, I was 12 years old when the sexual abuse started. Prior to this, there was a lot of domestic violence in our home, my parents fought all the time and it was tiring for all of us. The intense emotions: terror, worry, sadness, and unhappiness were constant. I remember when we’d get up for school, it was like walking on eggshells and trying to not ‘upset’ our father from his sleep. Before we’d leave the house he would check each of us over. Scanning for bruises, welts and open skin from yesterday's beatings. We weren’t allowed to play outside most of the time because he thought we’d bring too much attention to the house (he was a wanted criminal) and so we always had to be quiet and well behaved. We were never allowed to cry or express feelings of sadness, anger or frustration. Most of the time we were just completely shut down when in the home. What I find most interesting is that everyone and I will say everyone, outside of the home had some idea that this violence was taking place and yet nobody did anything about it.
Side break: A quick story that my mother had shared with me when I was younger. Before I was born my parents had lost my older sister. My mother had contracted the measles when she was 5 months pregnant and my sister was born with a heart defect. When she was 4 days old she underwent open heart surgery to put a shunt in to help open the valve. She died before she turned 6 months. My mother buried her baby with a black eye and was already pregnant with me. He was ruthless. My mother had endured so much from the beginning, and I just wish she saw the signs.
Side, side break: I want to put it out there that if anyone you know is struggling in a relationship, whether it's an intimate, familial or friendship, with any sort of abuse they deserve your help. They deserve your support and they deserve hope. Being a beacon of hope for someone in the depths could be life-changing. My point is that for my mother, no one was that beacon of hope, all those around her had let her down. Which is sad because she too had let her children down and even though she was a victim of violence, she allowed the cycle to continue because nobody stood up and protected her.
I get it, it's easy to say that she could have gone and gotten help from the police or other family members. Here's the thing: you're completely terrified of this person, they have made you completely dependant on them for everything, they have taken away your self-esteem and isolated you. In addition to that, relations between indigenous peoples and police are problematic, to say the least. I'll go into more detail on that last point in another post about the history of my people.
So a lot of violence happening and then the sexual abuse began for me. My father had approached me and casually dropped the idea to me - how fucked is that? Of course, 12 year old me was terrified because who in their right mind would suggest such a thing. I started to tremble and cry, a million things were flooding my mind. I just couldn’t comprehend what was happening. Through my tears, I told him ‘no’. He said I was just like my mother. He had waited until I was alone to approach me, I was trapped. I wanted to run but the fear inside me wouldn’t let me. Later that night he took me for a drive in his car and parked it in a cold and dead space. The sexual abuse continued from that night and for two years until he went to prison. He didn’t go to prison for the abuse, but for armed robbery.
When we would go up to the prison to visit him - the abuse continued. During our visits to the prison, he would demand that I sit on his lap. I was fourteen, he was trying to keep his power over me. Even in the phone calls from the prison, he would be asking me ‘is it still mine?’, but the thing is prisons record phone calls. It’s amazing that he even had the audacity to be asking me this shit over the phone. But what could I do? Again, I was fourteen - and I was carrying this all on my own. The fear, anger, and hurt became normal. Suicide became a daily thought. Until one day - I couldn’t carry it anymore, at least not by myself.
DISCLAIMER: This blog is just my personal views and thoughts on life. They should in no way be used as a substitute for professional help with anything. If you or someone you know suffers from mental illness please get professional help. For help with mental illness in Australia, you can contact Beyond Blue at 1300 22 4636 or through their website here https://www.beyondblue.org.au/. For help with mental illness in Norway, you can contact Hjelpetelefonen at 116 123 or contact your local mental health centre. If you’re anywhere else in the world please search for mental health professionals in your area.